ANC says will oppose any parliament bid to oust Ramaphosa

ANC says will oppose any parliament bid to oust Ramaphosa

Ramaphosa waves after a meeting of the ANC's paramount body, the National Executive Committee, in Johannesburg on Monday
Ramaphosa waves after a meeting of the ANC's paramount body, the National Executive Committee, in Johannesburg on Monday

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's ruling party on Monday warned it would not back any motion at an upcoming parliamentary debate that would lead to a vote for removing President Cyril Ramaphosa, under fire over a burglary scandal.

"Should parliament proceed tomorrow, the ANC will not support that vote," African National Congress interim secretary-general Paul Mashatile told reporters after day-long talks among party leaders.

Parliament on Tuesday is set to debate a damning report by an independent panel probing allegations that Ramaphosa concealed a huge cash theft at his farm.

The three investigators questioned the source of the cash and said Ramaphosa "may have committed" serious violations and misconduct.

Tuesday's sitting is a step that could lead to a vote on whether to impeach -- remove -- Ramaphosa from office.

To initiate an impeachment vote would require a simple majority in the National Assembly, where the ANC has 230 out of 400 seats. The impeachment vote itself would need a two-thirds majority to succeed.

Mashatile said "after a long debate" the ANC's National Executive Committee resolved to vote "against the adoption of the report," as the president had now launched a legal bid to annul its findings.

That means "the president continues with his duties as president of the ANC and the republic," it said.

He said the ANC however agreed that Ramaphosa must "be held accountable" by the party and that investigations underway by the police and other organs should continue.

But the "president did not offer to resign nor did the NEC ask him to resign," he added.

Earlier Monday, Ramaphosa filed a petition to the Constitutional Court seeking to have the investigative report "reviewed, declared unlawful and set aside," according to papers made available to the media by his spokesman.

Ramaphosa also asked for any possible impeachment process to be blocked, saying "any steps taken by the National Assembly pursuant to the report are equally unlawful and invalid."

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